The Relevance of Humanities in the Modern Life: Annotated Bibliography


The Relevance of Humanities

Over the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries, the worldview of the modern man has undergone a significant change under the influence of the technological revolution. Indeed, the knowledge in this area made it possible to bring humanity to a new level and create something that seemed impossible before. However, simultaneously with the technical revolution, the question of the necessity of humanities arises. The humanities introduce people to the world of spiritual culture, allow them not to get confused and lost in this world, feeling more confident in life, and constantly requiring cultural development. They help to assess the phenomena of social life, not to become a part of the crowd, managed by arbitrary instincts, and to develop an individual life perspective. Spiritual values play an important role for every individual, and conscientious adherence to them determines the dignity of human life, which is formed based on many life circumstances. Therefore, the necessity and importance of the humanities integration into the education and cultural processes is to be investigated. The conducted literature research allows concluding that the humanities play an outstanding role in modern society; therefore, the importance of their studying is underestimated.

  • Belfiore, Eleonora, and Anna Upchurch, eds. Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Utility and Markets. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013. Print.

This source is the collection of scholarly articles written by art and business professionals being highly interested in the matter. The authors offered the new research method, namely analyzing the extent, to which the arts, literature, and other humanities have already integrated into the life of a modern individual. Their methodology is not the common research perspective, but the existing effect investigation utilizing analysis and theory. The authors suggest a concise collection of researches in a wide variety of fields starting from business and to politics and technology. This book is rather useful for the research since it is one of the latest studies; therefore, it provides a fresh perspective on the notion of humanities and their importance in public life. Furthermore, Belfiore and Upchurch answer the difficult question of the humanities’ necessity using the language of the society itself. The very fact that the book is a collection of works gives a multiperspective view on the issue and suggests different solutions to the problem. This source is to prove that the humanities have deeply integrated into modern life, and they cannot be eliminated. The peculiarity of this source is that it uses not only academic perspectives but also common views, presenting a fresh viewpoint on the matter.

  • Hvolbek, Russell H. Re-Calling the Humanities: Language, Education, and Humans Being 59. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Springer, 2013. Print.

The book’s distinctive feature is that it re-introduces the notion of humanities and its main goals. In fact, it reshapes the importance of their studying and involvement in public life. The book focuses on language and the way it is used in human activity. The author explains the role that language and literature, as well as philosophy and history, as their main manifestations play in human life pointing out that it is their main attribute and communication tool. Holbeck extensively uses the theory of Hans Georg Gadamer, being a professional in this field and conducting extensive research on the influence of humanities on the human mind. Therefore, the main tool used by this particular author is explanation and illustration. The book primarily targets teachers and students, offering the teaching strategies and justifications that people may require when studying humanities. What is more important, the author illustrates the effect that language has on human behavior, by pointing out that the liberal arts are, in fact, the environment, in which people grow and develop. The author points out that the humanities, the language, in particular, is the thing that distinguishes all human beings from Homo sapiens as a biological species.

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  • Jewett, Hilary and Peter Brooks, eds. The Humanities and Public Life. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014. Print.

This book is another collection of academic essays on the matter. This anthology is the most appropriate and useful tool to research the problem, and it is to be extensively used in future research. The essays provide an overview of the issue’s importance and the ethical and moral side of the humanities. The peculiarity of this source is that it provides the most concise and clear information and attitude. The essays are academic, scientific, and very clear. What is more, they leave an aftertaste making one think over the problem and make personal choices and conclusions. On the other hand, the writing manner is dry and not easy to read and understand. However, the ideas directly present the awareness that teaching humanities are an important and valuable profession, appealing to the peoples’ critical and creative thinking, developing it, and helping to create the cultural and personal identity. The book is primarily intended for the scholar audience, researching the matter in detail. The source even introduces the idea that humanities are the real governors and legislators of humankind since they deal with moral and ethical aspects of the human personality. The authors highlight the point that humanities shape the worldwide culture and have a positive influence on the development of the moral community.

  • Muller, Herbert J. “The “Relevance” of the “Humanities.” The American Scholar 40.1 (1971): 103-118. Print.

The distinctive feature of this book is that it is not modern. The use of this source allows creating a historical perspective of an attitude to humanities. After having read the source, one has the ability to form a thoughtful conclusion on how the notion of humanities and its ideas have changed for a period of more than forty years. The author raises the problem of misunderstanding the relevance and necessity of education by contemporary students. Muller points out that studying humanities allows a student to engage in the educational process and connect to the world of a consistent, realistic, and important educational process. The article primarily targets the teachers and tutors who strive to make their students interested in studying and developing. The peculiarity of this book is that the author arises many fundamental and still relevant and unsolved questions, such as the absence of a unified definition of the humanities, the role of a teacher in the humanities development, and, finally, the question of the humanities importance to technical and engineering professions. Besides, the author gives useful hints for tutors on how to make their students connected and, what is more important, keep their interest along the whole course.

  • Williams, Tyler. “Plasticity, in Retrospect: Changing the Future of the Humanities.” Diacritics 41.1 (2013): 6-25. Print.

This book is one of the two sources from the list creating the future perspective of the humanities in modern life. The base of Williams’ idea is that the attitude to these sciences is gradually changing negatively, and the actions should be taken towards the situation improvement. Williams claims that human plasticity, the ability to adapt to the surrounding reality is the key reason why humanities have lost their importance and meaning. The point is that in the impermanent and highly technological world, the humanities have become the phenomenon of the past and are neglected due to the lack of time and inspiration. What is more, the author doubts the idea that the humanities themselves are plastic enough to fit in the current situation. The main methodology used by the author is the application of the plasticity theory and historical base as a tool for the prediction of the humanities future development. Williams proves that the idea of humanities is transcendental and unimportant for the modern individual. In fact, the author explains that the future of humanities depends on their ability to modify and widen their borders to adapt to the cultural, political, and social contexts. He suggests taking seriously the interrelations of the applied sciences (engineering, economics, and others) with the liberal arts, as well as their mutual influence.

  • Woodward, Kathleen. “The Future of the Humanities - in the Present & in Public.” Daedalus 138.1 (2009): 110-123. Print.

This annotated bibliography is of great importance for the research since a humanitarian wrote it. Woodward, being a respected scholar and a professor of English, considers the problems of humanities from the perspective of personal experience. The author uses extensive analysis of the present situation to predict and track the future development of liberal arts. Woodward considers the humanities as a hallmark of higher education and claims that liberal arts are valuable for the sake of the nation. She says that these sciences enrich a person both mentally and physically, broaden one’s mind, and provides a perspective of moral norms and values. The main author’s point is that humanities raise the sense of responsibility for every professional. The main audience of her article includes scholars and, perhaps, the country authorities in the field of education. This source is useful for the research since it directly explains the importance of humanitarian education and its positive influence on public life by the increase in the number of educated professionals. Woodward claims that understanding the necessity for all-around education raises the total intelligence and moral level of the nation and introduces a new social stratum – the intellectuals.

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